Ramlord- Crippled Minds, Surrendered Wisdom

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Tuesday, April 9, 2013

New Hampshire’s Ramlord is one of those bands that are able to pull from a whole slew of genres and combine them into a singular sound. On their newest full length Crippled Minds, Surrendered Wisdom the instrumentals weave between crust punk, sludge, and black metal without breaking a sweat. It’s the type of release that draws listeners in with its sheer intensity but has more than enough substance to keep them coming back.

There are currently a lot of bands out there that have added a blackened edge to their instrumentals, but Ramlord is one of the few that actually has some song structures that are closer to standard black metal. Rather than just using the rougher tonality for the same crust punk style songs, the instrumentals will often start off with a crust punk style riff and then transition into full-on blasting that has chilling leads not unlike what you would expect from a number of different black metal groups. But the band doesn’t stop there, as “Eroded”, “Enslaved”, and “Embittered” offer three thirty to forty second blasts that are closer to grindcore and powerviolence. Sometimes there is even some sludge added in to extend some of the dirtier grooves, and there’s an overall murkiness present to the sound no matter what stylistic elements the band is pulling from. Crippled Minds, Surrendered Wisdom makes an immediate impression as its assaults hit you straight in the chest, but where Ramlord stands out is in the complexity of their arrangements as there are a lot of cool melodic riffs and sudden stylistic changes lurking beneath the surface.

Ramlord’s vocals are split between a higher and lower pitch, and both have a similar type of harshness and distortion to their performance. The higher pitched scream is the most abrasive as it cuts through the wall of sound and grabs your attention each time it appears, while the lower growl reminds me of a slightly more distorted Tragedy. It definitely feels like crust punk and grindcore/powerviolence are where most of the influences come for the vocals, and I’m not complaining at all as the two styles work perfectly with the instrumentals. Additionally I should mention that the record seems to be perfectly mixed as the screaming/growling isn’t buried by the instrumentals but don’t completely overwhelm the material either.

Crippled Minds, Surrendered Wisdom is a killer album that is always blurring the line between genres and touching upon different elements. If you like crust punk, sludge, or grindcore I think you’ll find that Ramlord has ideas similar to a lot of your favorite bands but doesn’t quite sound exactly like any of them.  There’s plenty of standout riffs that will keep me returning to this disc, and hopefully these guys come down to Maryland at some point as this material seems like it would be even more crushing live.


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